Libya without peace


Libya without peace

At the roar of the cannon we had to wave our flag in a foreign land, not for the success of the Italian genius that to look good is nothing else except the inventiveness of the poor. And against a defenseless nation whose army could not even compete with the Italian.

Tripoli, beautiful land of love, sweet comes to you this my song! The flag be flown in your towers at the roar of the cannon!

So sang Italy in the early twentieth century, when she imagined herself being something of important and instead she picked up only the crumbs that others had left on the street. So she illuded herself and carefree ran toward the carnage of World War I that a little later would burst.

At the roar of the cannon we had to wave our flag in a foreign land, not for the success of the Italian genius that to look good is nothing else except the inventiveness of the poor. And against a defenseless nation whose army could not even compete with the Italian.

In more recent times and after being closed the historical parenthesis of Colonel Gaddafi and the Jamahiriyya he had founded without firing a shot, Italy thought she could cash in for the betrayal that it had achieved once again. This forgetting that the traitors never have a real say in the harmful actions to which they lend themselves, especially when they are only poor bullies.

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This is what is left of Sirte one of many cities. We have to thank the Allies for destroying a sovereign country

It’s of these days the news appeared that ISIS is rampant in Libya. Killing dozens of Christians. Sentencing to death and slaughtering anyone who opposes its distorted view of Islam. There have even have been addressed to Italy threats of bombing with Scud missiles. According to some rumors, the members of ISIS are already in our area, not far from Rome.

Aside from the dead with their throats cut for their religious diversity, we can say that some are hotshot propaganda. It is not clear by whom, however.

Our Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, the man with an ice cream in hand, immediately offered to send a contingent of troops to defend freedom, poetry and all the beautiful things that make life worth living in the West. Not least that slice of booty oil that Italy is so determined to get for herself by law for the role she has played in the bombing campaign. But shortly after Renzi backtracked: someone has explained to him that it was not the case, that would not be a victorious short ride and that in fact to Italy was not for nothing.

There is no peace in Libya but it was natural to finish so. Only fools could and can still believe that more than eight months of fierce bombardments have been put in place to defend a who knows what freedom and democracy in the post-Gaddafi Libya.

Libya found herself slaughtered and fallen into a Somalia condition and used as a forerunner for the war against Syria and Iran. And yet, perhaps for an example of historical justice, not only the Green Jamahiriyya disappeared but Italian democracy too.

Sure, it was not a thing blatant and flashy as for Libya. Of course, the process was already in place by many and too many years and therefore no one has noticed it, let alone the Italian people, but the fact remains that the disappearance there has been.

The point that interest us directly is that the Italian Prime Minister in those days, Silvio Berlusconi, literally fell from the clouds when began the facts which led to the destruction of Libya and the assassination of brother leader Muhammad Gaddafi.

It became apparent that Silvio Berlusconi knew nothing of what was brewing against Tripoli. But Italy had hosted Gaddafi in Rome a year before signing on that occasion a treaty of friendship and non-interference, as well as numerous other trade agreements.

Italian oil company ENI, founded by Enrico Mattei bemoaned and died in circumstances that someone goes back to a murder done by the Italian mafia but commissioned by the CIA, was at home in Libya. His presence was so important that almost excluded other foreign companies. And there was an entire galaxy of small and medium-sized Italian companies that traded with the Libyans and many of these companies had factories on Libyan soil too. We can not forget the great business in the Libyan public constructions, including all the major Italian manufacturers. And finally how to ignore the rescue of Italian bank Unicredit? Twenty million euro paid ready cash by Gaddafi thanks to which his failure and a dangerous domino effect on the entire Italian banking system was avoided.

So a lot of money run and yet the old Berlusconi was still surprised and shocked by the outbreak of hostilities.

You cannot think that there were no Italian intelligence agents in Libya, given the number and nature of the business that our country had with Tripoli. But our intelligence services apparently have not seen or heard anything that was worth reporting to our government.

Similarly our diplomats in the United States, France, England and other chancelleries of Europe have not been able to grasp even the slightest clue, even something of indirect that would put our leaders on notice.

Our generals and colonels have never heard any rumor during their meetings with NATO colleagues, no whisper, no allusive sentences dropped without conclusion. Nothing at all.

The reality is different: the Italian rulers have always been perfunctory, some less than others but all subjected to the command of the US. With Silvio Berlusconi the situation has reached a higher level, however. Always obsessively dominated by those his sexual instincts that so filled with ridiculous our country in the eyes of the world. Always on the run from a huge number of judicial investigations, for crimes that in another country, even just a little more civilized of contemporary Italy, would have cost the political career for even a mere suspicion.

And is natural that to such a person is given only enough rope to hang himself and not be allowed instead of governing a Nation with dignity. Notwithstanding that, it is hard to believe that the word “dignity” find place in the personal vocabulary of Berlusconi and in general in that of the Italian politicians.

The Italian Democratic Party and the remnants offal of the Italian left urged the government to go to war in the name of democracy and freedom mantra, loyalty to the Atlantic ally and NATO. Retaliation came when Berlusconi and his puppets did the same in reversed roles during the ignoble war against Serbia of Milosevic and the Balkan tragedy. Berlusconi managed to withstand a week and then capitulated, as expected.

Once again to pay for the filth of the Italian domestic politics were a foreign country and a foreign people who had not done anything against Italy but that on the contrary we Italians had already tormented much in the past.

And yet you should remember one thing well: i.e. a Nation that does not know how to express a government worthy of this name nor control her army and her secret police, is a Nation without a future. Therefore I wonder when History will make a pair with us and Italy will end up dismembered and removed, to the political games of foreign States that they said our friends until a few moments before. Maybe soon.

by Costantino Ceoldo

Libya almost Imploding, Status Quo Unsustainable: Oil Industry Target of Violent Attacks


Libya almost Imploding, Status Quo Unsustainable: Oil Industry Target of Violent Attacks

By Nicola Nasser

Global Research,
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More than two years on since the “revolution” of Feb. 2011, the security crisis is exacerbating by the day threatening Libya with an implosion charged with potential realistic risks to the geopolitical unity of the Arab north African country, turning this crisis into a national existential one. Obviously the status quo is unsustainable.

“Libya is imploding two years after the former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi” was captured and killed on October 20,” Patrick Cockburn wrote in British The Independent on last Oct. 10.
Libya’s oil industry has become the target of violent attacks and civil protests, closing export terminals in east and west or/and creating an oil black market. “Security guards” at the country’s main ports are on strike and selling oil independently in spite of a 67% in pay for employees of the state oil sector on last Oct. 31. Libyan oil minister, Abdulbari Ali al-Arousi, told the Financial Times on last April 29 that disruptions to production and export cost the country about $1bn over the previous five months only.
On this Nov. 11 Reuters reported that Protesters shut Libya ‘s gas export pipeline to Italy, its only customer, in the Mellitah complex, some 100 km west of Tripoli, after shutting down oil exports from there as well. A day earlier, Reuters reported that the separatist self-declared autonomous Cyrenaica government set up a regional firm called “Libya Oil and Gas Corp” to sell oil independently after seizing several ports in the east of the country, where Libya’s two most important oil ports, Sidra and Ras Lanuf, were blockaded by protesters.
Libya is Europe ’s single largest oil supplier. Cutting the Libyan oil and gas supplies to Europe on the eve of a winter that weather forecasts predict to be a very cold one would be an excellent pretext for inviting a European military intervention in the country, which seems the only option left for the transitional government of Prime Minister Ali Zeidan that ran out of options for its survival.
It is noteworthy here that while the U.N. Support Mission in Libya can obviously “support” nothing, France, Italy, the UK and the U.S., who spearheaded the NATO campaign to topple the former ruling regime, in a joint statement on this Nov. 8, expressed their concern “at the instability in Libya and the threat that (it) poses to the successful achievement of the democratic transition” and reiterated their “support to the elected political institutions,” i.e. to Zeidan’s government.
Ironically, Zeidan on this Nov. 10 warned his compatriots of a possible “intervention of foreign occupation forces” in order to protect civilians under Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter because “the international community cannot tolerate a state in the middle of the Mediterranean that is a source of violence, terrorism and murder,” which was the same pretext for the NATO military intervention that contributed mainly, if not created, the security crisis in the first place by destroying the military and police infrastructure of the central government and turned the country practically into a sponsor of regional terrorism in general and an exporter of arms and “Jihadists” to Syria in particular.
Zeidan’s warning of foreign “intervention” could also be interpreted as an implicit threat to ask for it to help rein in the security crisis lest it boils to an implosion of the country.
Forbes on last Aug. 30 reported that Libya’s “energy protection” was failing and quoted PM Zeidan as saying that his government would impose “order by force” when it came to protecting the oil and gas industry and expanded the Petroleum Facility Guards (PFG) to 18,000 members.
Months on, his efforts and threats failed to deter targeting pipelines, refineries and export terminals. His renewed threats since early last September to “bomb from the air and the sea” any oil tanker entering Libya’s territorial waters illegally and trying to pick up illicit Libyan oil have proved hollow and without teeth.
Libya is the second largest oil producer in Africa and the continent’s fourth largest natural gas supplier and already dominates the Southern Mediterranean ’s petroleum sector. According to the Libyan National Oil Corporation (NOC), more than 50 international oil companies were already present in the Libya on the eve of the “revolution.” The country’s potential is more promising;Austria’s OMV said on last Oct. 21 it had struck oil in Libya in its first new discovery since 2011.
On last Oct. 18, CNBC.com quoted Paolo Scaroni, the CEO of the Italian oil and gas firm ENI, which is Libya’s largest foreign partner, as saying: “Everyone is going to be wealthy” in Libya, citing statistics of what could be: “Five million people and 2 million barrels of oil (per day), which means that this country can be a paradise, and I am doubtful that Libyans will not catch this opportunity of becoming the new Abu Dhabi, or the new Qatar or the new Kuwait.”

Libyan Copy of Iraq ’s “Green Zone”

Yet Libyans seem determined to miss “this opportunity.” “Revolutionary” Libya, reminiscent of the U.S. – engineered “democratic” Iraq after some ten years of the U.S. invasion, is still unable to offer basic services to its citizens. Real unemployment is estimated at over 30%. Economy has stalled and frustration is growing. Gone are the welfare days of Gaddafi’s state when young families could get a house with benefits for free, people’s medication and treatment were paid by the state and free education made available to everyone. About one million supporters of the Gaddafi regime remain internally displaced; hundreds of thousands more fled for their lives abroad.

Remnants of the destroyed institutional infrastructure of law, order and security is hardly capable of protecting the symbolic central government in Tripoli, reminiscent of its Iraqi counterpart, which is still besieged in the so-called “Green Zone” in Baghdad . Late last October Libya ’s central bank was robbed of $55m in a broad daylight robbery. More than one hundred senior military and police commanders were assassinated.

“ Libya isn’t just at a crossroads. We are at a roundabout. We keep driving round in circles without knowing where to get off,” Libya’s Minister of Economy, Alikilani al-Jazi, said at a conference in London last September, quoted by The Australian on last Oct. 14. 

On last Aug. 30, the Swiss-based group Petromatrix said: “We are currently witnessing the collapse of state in Libya , and the country is getting closer to local wars for oil revenues.” Four days later Patrick Cockburn reported in British The Independent that “Libyans are increasingly at the mercy of militias” and that the “Government authority is disintegrating in all parts of the country.”

Ironically, an estimated one-quarter of a million heavily armed militiamen, who are the main obstacle to creating and empowering a central government, are on government payroll.

Writing in The Tripoli Post on Oct. 31, Karen Dabrowska said that, “Local notables, tribal groups, Islamists and militias are all vying to keep the centre from extending its authority to their fiefdoms and this explains why disparate social groupings can only unite temporarily to prevent the centre from gaining power over them.” 

It “goes without saying that the post – Moammar Gaddafi Libya is purely a failed state” governed by militia, Adfer Rashid Shah of the Jamia Millia Islamia, Central University in New Delhi, wrote on last Oct. 15.

Following the heavy infighting in the Libyan capital on this Nov. 7, Italian foreign minister Emma Bonino told newspaper La Republicca that the country was “absolutely out of control” and the situation is worsening, hinting that Italian oil and gas firm ENI was prepared to close its oil wells.

Zeidan’s abduction from his Tripoli ’s Corinthia Hotel on last Oct. 10, which the British Economist described as “the shortest coup,” highlighted the country’s deteriorating security crisis. It was interpreted as a “reprisal” for kidnapping five days earlier of Abu Anas al-Libi on suspicion of links with al-Qaeda by U.S. special forces, an act which exposed the inability of the central government to cooperate and coordinate with the American “ally” in his arrest on the one hand and on the other exposed its failure in protecting Libya’s sovereignty against a flagrant U.S. violation thereof.

Last July Zeidan threatened that his government may have to “use force” in Benghazi, the cradle of the “revolution” and the current focus of insecurity, tribalism, separatism, Islamist rebels, decentralization of government, assassination of regular army and security officers and attacks on foreign diplomatic missions who mostly closed their consulates in Libya’s second largest city, where the U.S. ambassador was killed in September last year.

Ahead of his visit to the eastern city on Monday, when he promised reinforcements and logistical support to the security forces there, Zeidan launched a show of force into the city the previous Friday with hundreds of armored troop carriers and army trucks mounted with guns.

But Zaeidan’s threat to “use force” will inevitably be counterproductive, not only because his government’s lack of “force” would compromise his credibility, but because, within the current balance of power between his government and the militias, it will make the security situation worse if it does not ignite a civil war.

Zeidan said his government would give the “revolutionaries” who have turned into rival and vying militias and warlords until next Dec. 31 to join the regular army and police or they will be cut from government payroll, that is if his coffers could afford to sustain their payroll if they accepted and if they did not accept his offer it will be another reason for more mutiny and rebellion.

More likely the government payroll may not be rolling because the government is facing a budget crisis and “from next or the following month, there could be a problem covering expenditure” according to Zeidan himself, as the security crisis has brought oil production to a standstill or out of its control because the “militia groups are behaving like terrorists, using control over oil as political leverage to extract concessions,” according to Dr. Elizabeth Stephens, head of political risk at insurers Jardine Lloyd Thompson, quoted by British The Telegraph on last Aug. 29.

An imminent constitutional crisis could create a power vacuum that in turn would worsen the security crisis. Published by RT on this Nov. 7, analyst Nile Bowie wrote: “In accordance with the transitional road-map adopted by the transitional government in May 2011, the mandate of the current government in Tripoli is set to expire on February 8, 2014. Failure to implement a new constitution by then would either force Tripoli into extending its mandate – a move which is seen as highly unpopular – or a potential power vacuum scenario which could set off a chain of events that could lead to a civil war or dissolution.”

Pentagon’s Plans No Help

Short of western “boots on the ground” it is doubtful that Zeidan’s government will survive. The U.S. administration of President Barak Obama was repeatedly on record against any U.S. boots on the ground in the Middle East . With the exception of France, which might be ready for the appropriate price to repeat its recent limited and temporary military intervention in Mali , Europe seems against it too.

Zeidan, with less than three months remaining for him in office, seems relying on Pentagon’s plans to arm and train, through “AFRICOM,” a new Libyan army called “a general purpose force.”

But “the case of a separate and under reported U.S. effort to train a small Libyan counter terrorism unit inside Libya earlier this year is instructive,” Frederic Wehrey wrote recently in Foreign Affairs, adding: The absence of clear lines of authority — nearly inevitable given Libya’s fragmented security sector — meant that the force’s capabilities could just have easily ended up being used against political enemies as against terrorists. In August militias launched a pre-dawn raid on the training camp which was not well-guarded. There were no U.S. soldiers at the camp, but the militia took a great deal of U.S. military equipment from the site, some of it sensitive. The U.S. decided to abort the program and the U.S. forces supposedly went home.

The obvious alternative to Zeidan’s western supported government would be a stateless society governed by militia warlords, while the survival of his government promises more of the same.

At the official end of the NATO war for the regime change in Libya on Oct. 31, 2011 U.S. President Obama proclaimed from the White House Rose Garden that this event signaled the advent of “a new and democratic Libya,” but more than two years later Libya is recurring to the pre-Gaddafi old undemocratic tribal and ethnic rivalries with the added value of the exclusionist terrorist religious fundamentalism wearing the mantle of Islamist Jihad.

In the wake of late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s death on October 20, a Saudi Arabian Arab News’ editorial said: “The point about Qaddafi’s death is that it makes the next transition stage that much easier, that much safer. As long as he remained at large, he would have been in a position to destabilize the country.”

More than two years after Gaddafi’s death, Libya is more destabilized, insecure and fractured that its future is now questionable enough not to vindicate the Saudi daily’s  prediction.

 Nicola Nasser is a veteran Arab journalist based in Birzeit, West Bank of the Israeli-occupied 

 

Libya on the Brink of Chaos


Libya on the Brink of Chaos

By Ben Winkley

It is easy to overlook events in Libya as other flash points in the Middle East hog the headlines. Egypt is on fire; Syria is collapsing into horror; and Salafi extremist groups are lobbing missiles into Israel.

Oil tanker Maersk Rhode Island waits to refill in the waters outside of the Zawiya Oil Refinery some 40 kilometers west of Tripoli, Libya, on Thursday. European Pressphoto Agency

A closer look at Libya, though, reveals a country descending into lawlessness.

In the country that is Europe’s largest supplier of oil, extrajudicial assassinations abound, foreign embassies are bombed and senior government figures quit in frustration.

The 2011 revolution stirred Old Libya from its slumbers. Before Moammar Gadhafi and before King Idris the three provinces that now form Libya (an Italian construct, the name was adopted only in 1934) were mainly linked by the movement of Bedouin.

More autonomy is now being sought, particularly by Cyrenaica, the most easterly province and the home to most of the country’s oil industry.

Gadhafi held Libya together by force of will and willing use of force. In his absence it is falling apart.

Foreign Policy says conditions for ordinary Libyans haven’t improved since the revolution—crumbling schools, filthy hospitals, endemic corruption and pollution of the coastline breed public discontent toward the government.

And Libya’s oil industry, once a tightly run stalwart of supply to Europe, is in danger of joining the ranks of those in countries where industries are marred by unrest, theft or corruption, as The Wall Street Journal’s Benoit Faucon explains.

Strikes by security guards in eastern and central Libyan ports that started at the end of July have effectively shut down oil shipments. Storage facilities have filled with crude, crimping any new production. Libya’s output fell in the first half of August to about one-third the highs reached last summer.

Foreign companies operating in Libya are feeling the burn. OMV, Eni and BG Group are among those with exposure to Libya.

Though the port closures were started by workers demanding the payment of wages owed as well as higher wages or more jobs, Libyan officials say the situation there is now turning into an occupation and that the armed guards are trying to sell oil without government approval.

A major international commodities trading house apparently recently received an offer to purchase oil outside official channels.

The Libyan government is infuriated, threatening to “bomb from the air and sea” any tanker illicitly taking oil out of the country.

This remarkable video, posted by the Libyan Navy Special Forces, shows how serious that threat is. Unverified it may be, but it appears to show shots being fired at an unauthorized tanker outside Es Sider, the country’s largest oil terminal.

An RPG is aimed, before some thought is given to the possible outcome of such action.

Libya has said it would resume exports from one of the affected ports, and that the situation has improved. Improved may not be enough.

The amorphous nature of the Arab Spring continues, and the ramifications are still unclear.

source: blogs.wsj.com

 

LIBYA – Ministry of Defence to intervene to ensure “Mellitah”


Ministry of Defence to intervene to ensure “Mellitah”

 

TO GO WITH AFP STORY IN FRENCH BY ALAIN

 

Abu DhabiArab Sky News

Ministry of Defence sent Libyan troops to secure the facility Mellitah gas after being closed because of the clashes between militias on Sunday, said the Chairman Mellitah Complex, Abdel Fattah Hacan,

Mellitah exporting gas to Italy but it stopped shipments because of the fighting, which erupted on Saturday, Hacan said that exports are expected to resume after 48 hours of securing the compound, located in northwestern Libya, according to the Reuters news agency.

“I received a phone call that the Ministry of Defence vehicles and sent it on its way here. Immediately secured the site, we will resume exports within 48 hours.”

The Libyan gas exports to Italy via the pipeline “Green Stream” stopped due to the exchange of fire near the gas installations in Mellitah northwest Libya.

It is noteworthy that the company Mellitah owned equally between the Italian group and the “National Oil Corporation” of the Libyan government.

 

 

German oil firm to remain in Libya


German oil firm to remain in Libya

German oil firm Wintershall has said it will remain in Libya, as it struggle to increase production

 German oil firm Wintershall has said it will remain in Libya, as it struggle to increase production.

German oil firm Wintershall said it is struggling to return production in Libya to levels from before the civil war, with difficulties finding contractors, and despite its vast resources, it is also ruling out exploring for more hydrocarbons.

The company’s Chief Executive Rainer Seele told Reuters that Wintershall, the oil and gas unit of chemical giant BASF is not finding the conditions for foreign oil firms in Libya attractive enough.

Wintershall was reported to be the second-largest foreign oil firm in Libya before the ousting from power of the former dictatorial regime of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. The largest was Italy’s ENI. Before the revolution, Libya accounted for three-quarters of its total oil output.

Since the end of the conflict Wintershall has been trying to return to its pre-war level of production, targeting an output of 100,000 barrels per day this year, but right now Seele says it’s output is around 80,000 barrels per day on average and it will be difficult to reach the prewar level of 100,000 barrels per day this year, as it had earlier expected.

“It is a challenge but we are working for that,” Seele told Reuters, “It is difficult to give a certain date (but) we would like to get to 100,000 barrels as early as possible,” he added.

A year ago, the main challenge was Libya’s old pipeline system, which was preventing the firm from transporting its crude from the Libyan desert to port. But that problem was partly solved after Wintershall helped build a new pipeline, which it says will be in operation soon.

Seele added that the difficulty now is finding the required contractors. “The service industry is not at the same level that it was before the war … This is a limit,” he said.

Talking about security in Libya, he said the the crisis in the Amenas gas plant in Algeria has not affected Wintershall’s installations.”I definitely have not seen a change. We had already increased our security system in Libya because of the civil war in 2011,” he added.

He ruled out exploration in Libya, as long as the conditions offered to foreign oil companies were not favourable. “The framework really is not supporting additional exploration. The contractual base needs to be improved. I am not hungry for exploration right now,” he said.

Seele added that Wintershall will remain in Libya, the only country in North Africa where his company has a presence.